The opening of a new campus for the American Community School of Abu Dhabi is projected for Fall 2023, the year we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.
Building an innovative, environmentally sustainable campus reflects our position as a globally leading American international school. Our new campus is an integral part of our vision and furthers our mission of excellence in academics, the arts, athletics and service, for the next 50 years and beyond.
With the enthusiastic support of the UAE government and key stakeholders in the Abu Dhabi ecosystem, ACS has the unique opportunity to build a world-class and sustainable campus on Saadiyat Island that pushes the boundaries of excellence for the next generation and becomes a source of pride for Abu Dhabi for decades to come.
New Campus Highlights
- Doubles the size of the current campus, offering much-needed space for our academics, arts, athletics and service-learning programs
- Improves infrastructure, parking, security and green space
- Is located in one of the most desirable locations in Abu Dhabi, close to NYU Abu Dhabi and the newly developing cultural district
- Gives ACS the ability to compete on a more equal footing for the most accomplished faculty
- Sets the standard for environmentally sustainable educational facilities in the region
- Provides inspired, flexible, and innovative learning spaces across a more sustainable and technologically-advanced campus
- Allows for a larger student population, enabling expanded programmatic offerings while maintaining a close sense of community
Explore Our New Campus
Development & Timeline
Extensive exploration, research and input from community members in recent years have informed the development of our new six-hectare campus on Saadiyat Island.
The opening of our new campus is projected for Fall 2023, the year ACS celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
January-September: ACS engages with government stakeholders and banks to develop its financing strategy.
March: The pre-concept design is unveiled to key constituents. ACS issues an RFP for the detailed design.
April: The Board conducts a separate competitive bidding process to retain Community Counselling Service (CCS), a highly respected, international fundraising firm with extensive experience working in the Gulf and with independent schools around the world to help ACS determine the level of philanthropic support that exists and to develop a plan of action to financially support our desire to deliver the best campus for our students.
June: After a rigorous and competitive bidding process, the Board retains Broadway Malyan/AECOM as the architect to develop the detailed design and construction documents and to provide cost management services for the new campus. ACS also contracts with Colliers Project Leaders to hire Antonis Slicher to serve as the school’s full-time project manager.
December: The Board approves the concept design by Broadway Malyan and AECOM.
January: The campus redevelopment task force unanimously decides to hire the architecture firm, Broadway Malyan, to prepare a pre-concept design, master plan and cost estimate to articulate the goals, expectations, requirements and concerns regarding the new campus.
June: Saadiyat Island Land Granted
The Board announces that the leadership of Abu Dhabi, in close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, has granted ACS an approximately six-hectare plot to build a new, state-of-the-art campus. The plot is double the current campus size and is located on Saadiyat Island, near New York University Abu Dhabi. The significance of this gesture cannot be overstated and is a reflection of the deep commitment of Abu Dhabi’s leadership to the future of ACS and for the visionary growth of Abu Dhabi and its youth.
Saadiyat Island is widely viewed as one of the most desirable locations in Abu Dhabi, considering the potential for ACS to access and utilize the world class educational resources of NYU Abu Dhabi, as well as exposure to the nearby cultural district amenities.
Saadiyat Island is conveniently located next to the business districts of Al Maryah and Reem Islands and the existing and planned road network ensures easy access to and from the proposed campus. This combination of factors leads the Board to unanimously conclude that a new, expanded and modern campus on Saadiyat Island will be in the best long-term interest of ACS and its community.
September: ACS engages in a community survey and town hall meetings to integrate input and fine-tune aspiration.
October-December: ACS holds faculty, student and parent workshops, engaging the community in the campus design process, and incorporating stakeholder input from two town halls, surveys and visioning sessions.
April: The Board holds a Community Strategy Summit to provide an opportunity to integrate the community’s ideas into the new campus development. Guiding principles for the new campus emerge and confirm the board’s decision:
- A single-campus supporting approximately 1,600 students Grades K-12 enables ACS to offer more diverse programs, while maintaining its community feel
- A 21st-century education requires state-of-the-art innovative facilities beyond what our current campus can provide
- Redeveloping the existing campus would involve 2-3 years of disruption, safety issues, higher costs, and the constraints of a three-hectare campus
- Pursuing land and funding options to build a new campus enable ACS to better deliver its mission to its students while securing and sustaining its long term future
- A new location needs to be sufficiently centrally located
November: The board issues an RFP to hire a qualified architect to develop a pre-concept design and master planning document for the new campus.
The Board of Trustees reassesses the need for a new campus and creates a campus development taskforce. Redeveloping the existing campus is determined to be too costly and will negatively impact students’ quality of education. The task force determines that ACS’ pursuit of excellence and long-term sustainability requires a move. While there is broad agreement, the Board specifies that it is important to preserve the community that makes ACS special.
In an effort to meet growing demand and improve the school’s fiscal sustainability, ACS opens the Grade 4-5 Elementary School building. While the new building allows ACS to add 150 seats, climate surveys from faculty, parents and students consistently indicate that additional and upgraded facilities are needed to provide excellence in academics, the arts, athletics and service and to support ACS’ whole child curriculum.
ACS examines options to upgrade its aging and space-constrained campus and accommodate its expanding student body. The option of expanding across two campuses is pursued and rejected.
Community feedback indicates a preference for a single connected campus that allows for continuity of education, community cohesiveness and interaction across grade levels, important elements to delivering on the ACS mission. The decision is made to remain on the existing campus and develop a new building to increase enrollment to 1,200 students.
New Campus Funding
While it is unlikely tuition will remain static in the coming three to five years, the Board does not intend to rely on tuition increases to fund the new campus. The current funding strategy focuses on grants, traditional financing, fund-raising, existing reserves, and the new capital fee. Every effort will be made to exercise financial prudence and mitigate any impact to tuition as a result of the new campus. ACS is grateful to the leadership of Abu Dhabi for generously donating the land on Saadiyat and providing significant financial support. The project would not have been possible without them. ACS is developing opportunities for parents, alumni, corporations and others who care about the school to participate in this historic moment and leave their mark.
The ACS Story
Learn about our history and growth in Abu Dhabi.
Giving to ACS ensures we can continue to deliver an innovative and flexible curriculum, invest in our faculty, enhance classrooms and learning spaces, and seize opportunities for excellence as they arise.
Unlocking the Potential of Our New Campus
The opening of our new campus is a transformational moment for ACS and Abu Dhabi. This move presents an opportunity for parents, alumni and corporate friends to increase their charitable commitments, thus unlocking the full potential of the site.
With support from our community, we will and make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and move a significantly enhanced ACS into our dynamic new site. Our school will push the boundaries of excellence and become an even greater source of pride for Abu Dhabi for decades to come.
Building on Our Tradition of Charitable Support
ACS was founded with charitable support: The land for our current campus was generously donated by the late Founder of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Over decades, thousands of people across the ACS community have given generously, investing financially and with their time to ensure that our school can continue to grow and evolve.
Now, parents, alumni and corporates friends are invited to support the school, make charitable commitments and ultimately leave their mark in this historic moment.